Someone has been made to take the fall for Tua playing Thursday when he quite obviously shouldn’t have been:
The N.F.L. Players Association has dismissed a neurologist who evaluated Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa after Tagovailoa hit his head in a game against the Buffalo Bills last Sunday. Tagovailoa was allowed to return to that game, only to be carted off the field during a game four days later after apparently sustaining a second head injury.
The dismissal came hours before the players’ union and the N.F.L. announced on Saturday that they were working to modify the league’s concussion protocol, perhaps within days.
According to two people with knowledge of the union’s decision, it “exercised its right” to remove the doctor, known as an “unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant,” who had advised the Dolphins’ team doctor during Tagovailoa’s evaluation last Sunday. One person said that the outside doctor, who was approved by the N.F.L. and the union, was removed for concussion protocol violations that resulted in an initial diagnosis that Tagovailoa did not have a concussion and his being allowed to play days later.
The dismissal of the doctor, who has not been publicly identified, came two days after Tagovailoa sustained a second hit to the head during the Dolphins’ game on Thursday against the Cincinnati Bengals, which led him to be removed on a stretcher and taken to a hospital. The injury, broadcast in prime time, reignited a vociferous debate about whether the Dolphins had skirted the concussion protocol during last Sunday’s game.
The NHLPA, fortunately, is not stopping here — De Smith was genuinely pissed off after the game, and the protocols will be strengthened on paper. Whether this will be reflected in practice, we’ll see.